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Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Father's Advice or Example?

Ran across the picture and it got me thinking.

One of the weakest sentences a father can utter is, "Do as I say, not as I do." This seems like common sense to me, and yet I think that most of us fathers, being human, find ourselves in situations where our actions embarrass ourselves and we sincerely invoke that desperate line. In extreme cases we here of cases where mother or father is arrested for child abuse only to find out that that mother or father were physically abused as children. My daughter asked me asked me how a child who knows how horrible being abused by a parent could grow up to be abusive.  I was (and still am) confused on that point myself and had no good answer. The stark reality is that what we do as fathers or mothers has a tremendous effect on our children. We are told to express our love to our children often. The words "I love you" are beautiful words and hopefully our children hear these words from our lips often. However, these words  can sometimes be too easy to say and we use them to make up for other deficiencies as parents. If those words are to have any real effect in our children's lives then we must be willing to correct the weaknesses in our lives that affect our children--in other words, we must love our children enough to change.

Rhett Butler of Gone With the Wind fame ("Frankly my dear, I don't give a . . .") is a great example of this willingness to change. Rhett is selfish, proud, a rogue, and a scoundrel in his graceful, charming way. He thinks of nothing but himself until he fathers a daughter with Scarlett O'hare. When he realizes how hated he is in the community, and realizes that his daughter will be hated by association, he is willing to humble himself in front of people he despises (they are actually good people) in order to give his daughter a chance. That is love.

I have a friend who has just stopped smoking. He said it is very hard to stop smoking, but he told me he is doing it for her, his young daughter. I have a tendency to roll through stop signs and cut corners when I drive. My oldest daughter is taking driver's education right now. I don't want her doing what I am doing, but she sees me do this every day. The odds are high that she is going to roll through stop signs and cut corners soon after she gets her license. I pledge right now to stop these bad driving habits and let her know it. She can let me have it when I slip. I have several other children where making this change in my behavior may have an effect. I'll let you know how it goes. Of course, as I wrote in my last blog post, the greatest example I can set for my children is in how I treat their mother. If I love my children, I will love their mother and I will show it.

1 comment:

Corybander said...

Wonderful concerns and insights. Good writing. Thank you.